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Keeping Up With the Beans: Crunchy & Cold Bean Salad

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Level: Easy

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Description

A great way to use VAST QUANTITIES of garden harvest: beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, broccoli stems. ANYTHING! Keeps for several days in fridge, and actually tastes better as time goes on… A note: all quantities are variable. 1 lb, 2 lb, whatever. Just make enough salad dressing to suit your taste.

Ingredients

  • For Salad
  • 2 pounds Fresh, Damned, Unstoppable Green Beans
  • 2 whole Maligned, Unappreciated Zucchini
  • 2 ears Sad, Withering, Leftover Fresh Corn
  • ½ bulbs White Or Red Eye-watering Onion
  • 10 whole Delightful Cherry Tomatoes Sliced In Half
  • 1 whole Large Cucumber Mostly Peeled And Cut To Desired Shape For Eating
  • 1 can (15 Oz. Can) Garbanzos (or Fresh Bean Seeds From Aforementioned Overgrown Bean Plants)
  • ¼ cups Stinky Blue Cheese OR 1 Cup Fresh Mozzarella
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Crumbles (highly Advised, But Totally Optional)
  • _____
  • For Dressing
  • ¼ cups Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cups Olive Oil (or More To Taste. See Below)
  • 5 leaves Basil
  • 5 leaves Mint
  • 2 cups Cooked Couscous (totally Optional)
  • 4 whole Grilled And Seasoned Chicken Breasts (or More To Suit Number Of Servings)

Preparation

Ingredient list and quantities are a starting point only! That’s because this salad was designed by me to use up insane amounts of whatever is growing in the garden without having to eat it steamed and buttered every night.

The salad can be made as a side dish without the meat, couscous and garbanzos, too. The magic is the dressing, which works on anything.

So make as much as you need to suit your own taste. I go very light on the oil, adding only enough to make the emulsion thick and therefore use less so I can eat more! You can add lots more oil to make it go further.

PREPARE ICE BATH in sink by filling a large bowl with cold water and ice.

STEAM OR BOIL VEGGIES THAT NEED COOKING:
I steam or boil (in generously salted water) beans, zucchini and corn all together. Until just barely cooked. Overcooking is to be avoided at all costs. You want the veggies to retain a crunch without being too tough.

IMMEDIATELY drain veggies and plunge into ice bath. This is an essential step to retain the bright green colors and the crunch of the beans and zucchini.

DRAIN AND DRY, THEN CHOP all veggies to desired size. For this recipe I like to cut the longer beans into 1-2 inch pieces. Same for zucchini. Cut the corn off the cob. Put them all into a large bowl. Add garbanzos, tomatoes and anything else you need to get rid of.

SELECT AND CHOP OR CRUMBLE CHEESE. Mix in with veggies. ADD BACON if using.

MAKE DRESSING: stir vinegar, honey and Dijon together with a wire whisk. Add olive oil in a slow stream while constantly and vigorously whisking. About the time your arm wants to fall off, you will have a magical thick blend of dressing heaven. (As noted above, you can add up to a cup of olive oil to 1/4 c balsamic. I add as little as I need to get the desired thick consistency in order to keep fat and calories down.) Add to veggies and chill.

IMMEDIATELY BEFORE SERVING, julienne basil and mint and sprinkle over salad, cook couscous and grill meat. I serve it separately for my kids, but if I were to make for adults, I would put it all together.

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE.

Experiment and comment your additions/modifications!

3 Comments

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Avatar of pattyhans

pattyhans on 9.30.2009

Yum! I made this to bring to work for lunch this week and am not tired of it yet! Didn’t have bacon bits and was too lazy to fry up bacon, so next time I make it I’ll have to add those – but it was great without them. Today I threw in some craisins – just wondered what a burst of fruit flavor would taste like.

Avatar of jenmenke

jenmenke on 8.11.2009

I’m making this my second time. This time I didn’t have cous cous, garbanzos or corn. I used the bean from inside my scarlet runner beans, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper and dried cranberries. Then I added 2 cups of cooked barley. Just as good!

Avatar of jamiebrookebrooks

jamiebrookebrooks on 8.10.2009

Great dressing!!
I used this recipe as inspiration for my fresh veggies that I needed to use, thanks! I wish I would have had mint and basil, it would have definitely taken my version up a notch…I had green beans, red onion, yellow onion, roma and vine tomatoes, zucchini, mozzerella, and bacon bits.
My folks really liked it, I took it to our Sunday night dinner. Iwill definitely use this again!

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